Olympic medallist Vijender Kumar has backed fellow Indian boxer Sarita Devi, who faces a long ban after for refusing to accept her medal at the Incheon Asian Games recently.
Sarita, who had declined to accept the bronze medal in a protest over biased judging, should expect heavy punishment, the head of the sport's governing body had said on Wednesday, hinting that her international career might be over.
Backing the troubled athlete, Vijender said on Thursday that the sports ministry and other Indian associations should support Sarita. "She is human, after all, and she has apologised in written. Being an athlete, I can understand her feelings, and I am with her at this time," he said in an interaction with the media at Shah Satnam Ji Boys' College here.
Vijender said he had great hopes from the Narendra Modi government at the Centre. "It is a government of the youth, which I am sure will do better for sport," said the boxer, adding that he was in Sirsa to take the blessings of Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and that he felt at home here.
He is working on a boxing academy project with the dera and will open the training facility here. Asked about his next target, he said it would be the world championships before the 2016 Olympics. He is also busy shooting for another Bollywood movie after "Fugly".
About the selection process, he said it had become fairer. He also interacted with young athletes at the boys' college and shared some tips with budding boxers.